A nervous looking Pakistani soldier pointed a rocket-propelled grenade at our pickup truck in late January. The Taliban guard beside me loaded his rifle and ordered me to put a scarf over my face. In the drivers seat was Badruddin Haqqani, a senior commander of the Haqqani network, one of the Taliban’s most hard-line factions and the group that was holding me and two Afghan colleagues hostage in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Obeying the guard, I covered my face. The soldier was in the lead vehicle of a Pakistani army supply convoy in North Waziristan. After surveying the road, the soldier got back in his truck, and the convoy rumbled forward. I hoped that the Pakistanis might somehow rescue us. Instead, I watched in dismay as Badruddin got out of the truck and calmly stood on the side of the road. After the convoy disappeared, Badruddin seemed amused.
Do you know who that was? he asked me.
No, I said, trying to play dumb . .